Perspectives will be updated regularly with profiles and guest blogs from our members and allies, essays, news, photos, videos, and other features. Come back often!

CommunicationFIRST to DC Council: Eliminate IQ Requirement to Qualify for Services

By Communication First | Nov 15, 2021
abstract image of the back of a male-appearing black person with short black curly hair wearing a peach colored shirt who appears to be sitting at a desk in the back of a classroom

On November 5, 2021, CommunicationFIRST’s Policy Director, Bob Williams, submitted written testimony to urge the DC Council (Washington, DC’s legislative body) to quickly pass a bill that would eliminate a requirement for IQ tests to be used in deciding who qualifies to receive developmental disability services. The Developmental Disability Eligibility…

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AAC Users Interview Jordyn Zimmerman (Updated with Recordings)

By Communication First | Oct 29, 2021
Text says "AAC Users Interview Jordyn Zimmerman - November 10, 2021 - 7:00 pm ET" Image of Jordyn, a young white adult woman with long brown hair sitting on a stage typing on an augmentative communication device, next to a flyer of the documentary film "This Is Not About Me"

On November 10, 2021, CommunicationFIRST hosted an opportunity for AAC users to interview Jordyn Zimmerman about the new documentary This Is Not About Me, featuring Jordyn and her educational experiences with and without access to robust augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).¬†CommunicationFIRST’s Policy Director (and full-time AAC user), Bob Williams, moderated…

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LISTEN wins Film Festival Award!

By Communication First | Oct 7, 2021
Film laurels "Winner Astoria Film Festival 2021" LISTEN #ListenToNonspeakers on black white lettering and CommunicationFIRST logo in green and blue

We are thrilled and humbled to share that our film LISTEN: Made by and with Nonspeaking Autistics won the Zukor Award at the 2021 Astoria Film Festival last weekend! The Zukor Award is awarded to a film that brings positive attention to an underrepresented topic or group. Congratulations to the…

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This Is Not About Jordyn

By Communication First | Oct 6, 2021
Film poster with yellow background for This Is Not About Me documentary with images of a penguin, a small dog, and the upper body of a woman with a daisy super-imposed on her head. Bottom of the poster days "With the support of" and the logos for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, AssistiveWare, CommunicationFIRST, and Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

On October 13, 2021, CommunicationFIRST is excited to join with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and AssistiveWare in celebrating the public release of This Is Not About Me, a documentary featuring one of our Board members, Jordyn Zimmerman. Although the film tells Jordyn’s story, it…

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Three CommunicationFIRST Board Members Testify Before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee

By Communication First | Oct 6, 2021
A photo of five witnesses wearing suits seated before a long wooden table with papers in front of them in a US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing room. One of the witnesses is Dr. Clarissa Kripke, wearing a red jacket. Four of the five witnesses are wearing masks. Four of the five witnesses are looking at the camera and appear to be smiling underneath their masks.

Clarissa Kripke with Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Chair Senator Richard Blumenthal. Photo credit: Tauna Szymanski On September 28, 2021, three CommunicationFIRST Board members and four participants in our August 19 webinar on Guardianships and AAC Users submitted testimony for the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution’s hearing titled “Toxic…

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CommunicationFIRST Asks White House to Improve Communication Equity

By Communication First | Aug 16, 2021
abstract, black and white photo of what may be triangles of wood

Last month, CommunicationFIRST responded to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Request for Information about how to make the US government’s policies and work more equitable.  Our comments include 12 recommendations.  The first three recommendations ask the government to begin counting people with speech-related disabilities, like it…

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CommunicationFIRST Joins ACLU Amicus Brief in Britney Spears Conservatorship Case

By Communication First | Jul 13, 2021
stock photo image of the top of the outside of a building with the word "court" engraved in the marble

CommunicationFIRST is pleased to announce it has joined other civil and disability rights groups in filing a brief led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case. The amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) brief urges the judge presiding over Ms. Spears’ conservatorship to allow…

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Guardianships for AAC Users? (Updated with Recordings)

By Communication First | Jul 11, 2021
Guardianships for AAC Users? Part 1 - July 13, 2021 3-4:30 ET CommunicationFIRST with headshots of Tim Jin (an Asian American appearing man with a shaved head), John McCarty (a white appearing man with short brown hair), Dana Lloyd (and African American appearing woman with black hair), Joan McCarty (a white appearing woman with short brown curly hair), and Morgan Whitlatch (a white appearing woman with long red curly hair), and Bob Williams (older white man with white hair smiling and wearing a red sweater and bowtie)

Guardianships and conservatorships are legal tools that are frequently used in the name of protecting people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) instead of speech to be heard and understood. Britney Spears’ recent advocacy to end her conservatorship has brought to the public’s attention the downsides of conservatorships…

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Speak Up for KASSA and Keep Our Kids Safe

By Communication First | Jul 9, 2021
black and white image of a child with straight, black, shoulder-length hair whose face is not visible behind their outstretched palms as if they are saying no with their hands

Silence can impact all of us: our relationships, learning, and employment. Yet being placed in a setting of forced silence or being denied access to communication has the harshest consequences for those of us unable to speak in a way that is intelligible to others. That is why it’s crucial…

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